I have a phobia of ears and vomit when a hairdresser touches mine – it's so awful that I avoid getting haircuts
22nd May 2021

A WOMAN who is so terrified of ears revealed that she once threw up when a hairdresser touched them during a trim- so she now she avoids salon visits altogether.

Holly Hardy-Johnson, 36, has suffered from aftiphobia – a fear of ears – for as long as she can remember, and itleaves her anxious and extremely unwell.

Not only does Holly fear having her own ears touched, but she can't stand the thought of touching someone else's.

It seems her fear is limited to human ears though, as Holly, from Nantwich, Cheshire, who used to be a zookeeper, said animal's ears are completely fine to touch.

Due to the severity of her condition, the teacher now avoids getting haircuts altogether.

Speaking to CheshireLive, Holly said: "I've always had a problem with people touching my ears and I can't touch other people's ears.


What are the symptoms caused by a phobia?

Panic attacks are common for people with phobias, according to the NHS, which can be very frightening and distressing.

The symptoms often occur suddenly and without warning, and aside from feelings of anxiety and panic attacks, a phobia can also cause:

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flushes or chills
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • pain or tightness in the chest
  • a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
  • nausea
  • headaches and dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • a need to go to the toilet
  • ringing in your ears
  • confusion or disorientation

"It's a very strange thing. I was a zookeeper for many years and the only ears I was fine with were animals'.

"I've always avoided haircuts. I always wait until I absolutely have to go. Most women find it a pleasurable experience, I just do it because it needs to be done.

"It can be awful. In the past I've been sick when I've gone and had my haircut. I'm anxious the whole time, I have to sit on my hands to stop myself from jumping about.

"Just the whole process from going through the hairdressers' door to leaving is awful. The hairdressers are always wonderful, it's just me."

Even booking hair appointments in advance was troublesome for Holly as the wait made her far too anxious.

So instead she would call and pop in right away.

But despite the extreme fear, Holly has decided to take the plunge for a good cause and get a haircut for charity – and hopes to raise ££550 for the Little Princess Trust.

Like everyone else, the teacher was in desperate need of a trim following months of salon closures during lockdown.

Now, wanting to overcome her fear to benefit someone else, she is hoping to cut off more than seven inches of her hair at Salon 21 in Nantwich.

Holly said: "My theory on it is that we've all lived through a pandemic, but children and young people have gone through it with serious health conditions – that's a different ball game."

She has as of Thursday raised more than £300, which she described as "unbelievable" but said it was as much about raising awareness as it was about the money.

Holly is due to have her haircut on Saturday afternoon (May 22) and donations can be made by going to the Just Giving page.

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